Exchanging Man’s Rib For My Humanity
Growing up a Christian, I was constantly told my main purpose in life was to become a godly woman. A godly woman obeys her husband and respects his authority over her. She isn’t quarrelsome. She doesn’t speak out of turn. She allows her husband to take control in the relationship. She doesn’t work outside of the home because providing for the family is exclusively the man’s role. But as a child, none of that resonated well with me. I had questions about many passages in the Bible, especially the ones that seemed to denigrate and devalue women. Isn’t it sexist that men can speak in church and women can’t? Will my future husband really have authority over me? What if I want to work when I get older? Does that make me less of a woman if I don’t become a homemaker? Was I really created from a man’s rib? But I never asked those questions because I didn’t want my inquisition to be mistaken for heresy. I just accepted what was written as I was taught good Christians do.
With age, I became less reticent. I unabashedly started asking questions — the tough ones that most Christians were too uncomfortable to discuss. My intent was not to indict Christianity or attack the institution of religion. I just wanted to challenge others to think for themselves instead of blindly accepting ideologies that derive from an extremely misogynistic society that existed more than 3,500 years ago. Although we’ve evolved in the past 3,500 years, our modern society is plagued by patriarchy, and women’s progress is still being stifled by the antiquated religious beliefs that women are inferior to men, irrational, hypersensitive and weak.
In most parts of the world, current laws do not permit a non-virgin bride to stand on her father’s doorstep as the townsmen gather to stone her to death, but a repugnant number of women are still being beaten, threatened and killed by their husbands under the guise of religion. Women are no longer being ostracized from the church while menstruating but we’re being taxed for our feminine necessities. Not to mention, affordable childcare is not ubiquitously accessible, we’re being chastised for breastfeeding our children in public, and our reproductive rights are being controlled by lawmakers — 90% of whom are men. Rape victims are not being forced to marry their perpetrators anymore, but they’re being blamed for the crime committed against them, while their rapists aren’t being held accountable for the irreparable damage they’ve done. Wives are now allowed to have careers and earn an income but their work isn’t as valued as their husbands’ — and it shows on their paychecks. Women are still fighting every day to prove that we’re deserving of basic human rights because — just like men — we are humans who were created through the fertilization of an egg by sperm.
We’re not the product of someone’s rib. We’re not objects or trophies sitting idly on a shelf waiting to be polished and shown off by men. We’re not here for men’s entertainment or convenience. We refuse to believe we are secondary citizens of the world. We’re not emotionally, physically and mentally weaker than men. Our womanhood is not defined by our relationship status or whether we have children. We do not accept that our role in marriage is confined to being a mother and a wife. We are not going to remain voiceless. Our sole purpose in life is not to nurture a man. We will seek careers and provide for ourselves. We will not disparage our intellect to be seen as less of a threat to men, and we will not coddle fragile masculinity. We will never conform to, defend or normalize the subjugation of women. And the truth is, Jesus Christ never did either. He spent much of His life advocating for the justice and humanity of women. But that’s often omitted from church sermons. Maybe that’s because the majority of preachers are men.